Petitioners need to be compensated with the total due amount and an additional 12% annual interest by respondents within two months from the date of the Judgment: High Court of Kerala

Respondents are directed to compensate the petitioners with 12% annual interest according to the valuation certificate within a period of two months from the date of Judgment and was upheld by High Court of Kerala through the learned bench led by HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE N.NAGARESH in the case of THRESYAMMA JOSE v. STATE OF KERALA (WP(C) NO. 6996 OF 2021) on 13th April, 2022.

Brief facts of the case are that the petitioners are residents/owners of land adjacent to Alappuzha-Ernakulam Railway line in Kanichukulangara and SN Puram in Cherthala Taluk. They have filed this writ petition seeking to direct respondents  to disburse the amount of compensation as fixed by the 3 rd respondent in Ext.P2 Valuation Certificates with 12% interest.

Learned counsel for petitioner submitted that the Assistant Divisional Engineer of Southern Railway, Kollam issued notice to the petitioners to cut and remove certain trees situated in their land which were leaning over the railway line. The list of trees to be cut and removed were mentioned in the notice. The petitioners were cautioned that unless the trees are cut and removed within ten days, the trees will be cut at government expense and damages will be recovered from the land owners. It was also stated that if any trees mentioned in the notice falls down on the railway line and cause interruption to the train services, the loss sustained will be recovered from the owners without any legal proceedings. He stated that pursuant to notices, the petitioners themselves cut and removed the trees and the petitioners obtained Valuation Certificates from the Additional Tahsildar fixing the value of the trees cut. The Valuation Certificates were issued in the year 2011 and were addressed to the Assistant Divisional Engineer, Southern Railway. The Section Engineer prepared Site Verification Report and forwarded to the Assistant Divisional Engineer in 2011 itself. The compensation amount payable to the petitioners are not paid so far.

Learned respondent’s counsel submitted that the respondent initiated action to calculate the claim of the petitioners. It was found that Valuation Certificates issued by the 3rd respondent, the compensation amount mentioned was found to be either corrected or not visible. Calculation of actual compensation amount with up to date interest is also not found in the documents submitted. The 2nd respondent therefore advised the claimants to obtain clear original valuation sheets for the compensation amount from the 3rd respondent and submit the same, calculating interest at 12% per annum from the date of Valuation Certificate. The petitioners have not submitted the said documents.

Court held that there is no dispute over the fact that the petitioners have cut and removed the trees, which were directed to be cut in notices and if respondents have any doubt regarding the contents of the Valuation Certificates, it is for respondents to get necessary clarifications from the 3rd respondent-Additional Tahsildar. Court directed respondents 1 and 2 to disburse the amount of compensation as fixed by the 3rd respondent in Ext.P2 Valuation Certificates to the petitioners with 12% interest, within a period of two months.

Click here to read the Judgment

Judgment reviewed by – Amit Singh

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